Many liberals in the media breathlessly reported that judge Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, founded a “fascist club” while in high school. But reporters didn’t dig deep enough to discover that there never was such a club, and the whole story was a joke.
A recent report in the Daily Mail of Australia insisted that Gorsuch “founded and led a student group called the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ at his elite high school.”
The report went on to claim, “The club was set up to rally against the ‘left-wing tendencies’ of his professors while attending a Jesuit all-boys preparatory high school near Washington D.C.”
But after a long list of other news sources picked up the story to smear Gorsuch as a purveyor of fascism as a young man, a few reporters began to look into the claim and found it was fake news.
One of the earliest writers to debunk the “fascist club” claim was the National Review’s Ed Whelan.
“I am reliably informed that no such club ever existed and that there was instead an inside joke among friends in the senior class that parodied political debates happening at the school,” Whelan wrote in his Bench Memos blog. “A contemporary of Gorsuch’s at the school also tells me that yearbook editors added stuff to student blurbs without their permission.”
“Earth to newspaper reporters: High-school yearbook editors sometimes have a sophomoric sense of humor,” Whelan added.
Even the left-wing website Snopes.com admitted that the whole “fascism club” claim is 100% false.
Further, Steve Ochs, a former student government advisor at Gorsuch’s school, added that it was “a total joke.”
“There was no club at a Jesuit school about young fascists,” Ochs said. “The students would create fictitious clubs; they would have fictitious activities. They were all inside jokes on their senior pages.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.